- Standard View
The original mill here was built for George Washington Gilbert Simpson to do the actual construction. Building started in 1774, the completion was delayed until 1776 because of the Revolutionary War and trouble with hostile Indians.
*Update: This photo was taken in 1926. They wanted to restore the mill for the 200 anniversary of George Washington's birth, but while they were looking around for someone to do the job, the building collapsed. The only person in America at that time capable for the job was, John Blake Campbell (1890-1987), a hydraulic engineer and millwright who was busy at the time constructing the Grist Mill at the Wayside Inn for the Fitz Water Wheel Company, and Henry Ford.
Cont'd: The Wayside Inn Mill project was started in 1926, and ground its first grain on Thanksgiving Day of 1929. There was another movement to reconstruct the George Washington's Mill in Perryopolis for the American Bicentennial, but that project never got off the ground other than purchasing the land, and collecting money. I guess the 3rd time is the charm! Theodore R. Hazen www.angelfire.com/journal/pondlilymill/index.html 04/02/2009*
Washington owned 1600 acres, including the mill area and the town of Perryopolis, from 1769. The mill was leased to Col. Israel Shreve in 1779, to operate for General Washington.
Picture of the north side of the mill, opposite from the waterwheel. Col. Shreve died in 1799, the same year as Gen. Washington. The mill then passed to Powell Hugh, John Strickler, Jacob Strawn. George Anderson bought the from Strawn's heirs, accomplished some repairs, then sold the mill to Samuel Smith in 1859.
Closeup of the newly reconstructed overshot waterwheel, dedicated on Aug. 10, 1999, four years after the mill structure was finished and dedicated early August 1995. The sixteen, nine foot wheel spokes of white oak, eight on each side, hold the $18,900 wheel to the axle/shaft obtained from a mill in West Virginia.
View of the mill from the road. The mill restoration project finally got underway for the 3rd effort in 1992, with the Perryopolis Parks and Recreation Authority the driving force. The foundation was rebuilt using many of the original stones. After a few years of planning and actual construction, the mill was finished, with enormous amounts of volunteer time and labor, and the restoration was dedicated in 1999.
The same view of the foundations in 1982, ten years prior to the start of the reconstruction project. Thirteen years later, after several years of reconstruction, Amish carpenters from Amstrong County finished the new mill on the old foundation.
The distillery associated with the mill, originally built in the 1790's-1820, burned in 1970 and has recently been restored during the mill reconstruction effort.